Talisker Skye

Talisker Skye (45.8%, OB, 2019)


What they say

Talisker Skye

The Isle of Skye is renowned for its rich, varied landscape – from its soft, serene shores to the dark, jagged peaks of the Cuillin mountains. Talisker Skye is the distillery’s ode to these appealing contrasts, with a smoky sweetness, maritime notes and a spicy edge.

in brief… A compelling Talisker, sweet to start with light smoke, maritime intensity and a big, spicy hit of salt and pepper.

in a sentence… A well-balanced expression of powerful Talisker, capturing all the attractive traits that make this unique island malt unmistakeable in its well-resolved and lively interplay between sweetness, smoke and spice.

Official tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Bright 18 carat gold with polished copper lights.
  • Nose: Starts gently with the glorious citrus sweetness of fresh oranges, a note which rapidly develops into orange oil and sweet, soft tropical mango. Behind this, there’s a maritime air with fresh seaweed, dry driftwood and sea salt, backed by classic Talisker notes of comforting smoke and a hint of struck match. More spice yields a peppery and slightly earthy nose-feel, like a sweet pepper soup. There’s also a sweet-sharp trace of toffee apple, or chocolate tart with some red berry fruit, then a cleansing note of eucalyptus . Water tames the spice and smoke, but the aroma remains maritime.
  • Body: Medium bodied and softly textured.
  • Palate: Soft and sweet at first, coating and tongue tingling, with very light smoke. That sweetness quickly becomes more pungent and savoury (salted caramels, honey glazed ribs on a barbecue) with subtle smoke (like a beach bonfire lit in the distance), and a hot spiciness.
  • Finish: Drier and of medium-length, with a lasting, smooth aftertaste, in which light peaty burnt embers can be found.

What I say

A re-visit to the 2015 launched Talisker NAS expression ‘Skye’. Named after the Island on which Talisker was until recently the only distillery. Many saw the naming of this release as a ‘land grab’ on the name Skye before Torabhaig distillery made any attempts in that direction, a small victory after Talisker lost the ‘only distillery on Skye’ claim perhaps? Regardless, here is a timely re-visit.

My tasting notes:

  • Appearance: Amber gold (10/20), numerous, medium-fine tears and strong, medium legs.
  • Nose: Sweet and coastal, salty/briny, salted caramel, heather honey, butterscotch, toffee, malted barley, orange oil, dusty and subtle peat smoke.
  • Taste: Cereal-led, malted barley, yeasty and beery, caramel with a hint of salinity, dry oak wood, powdered cinnamon, lemon oil, citrus peel, sappy wood.
  • Finish: Spiced and sweet, salt and honey.


Much more cereal/barley led than I remember from our last tasting. A sprinkle of salt throughout and some lovely heather honey and yeasty notes shine through that are usually masked a little. This is distinctly Talisker but much more barley driven, I wonder if the relative ‘age’ of this NAS expression is creeping upwards?

Score 82/100

Available from Master of Malt and The Whisky Exchange

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Categories: Island, Talisker

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